Climate Forecast Maps as a Communication and Decision-Support Tool: An Empirical Test with Prospective Policy Makers Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper reports an empirical study of communication issues concerning climate forecasts. Students in a professional master's degree (MPA) program in environmental science and policy participated in the study as prospective policy makers. Participants viewed a set of currently issued precipitation forecast maps, and answered questions designed to assess, in the context relevant to agricultural and environmental decision-making, their understanding and evaluation of the maps. Participants failed to understand some aspects of the information shown on the maps, in the current design, as the map makers intended. In particular, participants had difficulty understanding probability forecast maps and distinguishing probabilistic three category forecasts and the amount of precipitation. Most participants evaluated the degree of agreement between the forecast and observation as "agree only slightly" or "agree somewhat." More than half of the participants were not inclined to use the forecasts in agricultural decision-making. Implications for improvement in design for better communication are discussed.

published proceedings

  • Cartography and Geographic Information Science

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Ishikawa, T., Barnston, A. G., Kastens, K. A., Louchouarn, P., & Ropelewski, C. F.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Ishikawa, Toru||Barnston, Anthony G||Kastens, Kim A||Louchouarn, Patrick||Ropelewski, Chester F

publication date

  • January 2005